Even before looking at the analysis on the game, it would be clear that the possession and passing stats would likely be very much in Reading's favour. This was indicted as much in @williamowain's 3 Things To Look Out For. We knew how Charlton were likely to be setup, and we knew that they would be a hard nut to crack. With nine draws and just two defeats to their name, it would take a varied and sustained effort to overturn the Addicks.
What fare we saw from the Royals was predictable and easily countered. Worst of all, we just kept trying and trying, the same moves time and time again. This was the very definition of Groundhog Day (or like watching Fearne Cotton on infinite repeat. You choose your poison!)
The basic statistics would appear to indicate that Reading 'dominated' proceedings.
Not too bad, so it would seem. The only obvious blot, and it's a very large one, is the two shots on target. That's 10% of our total output and obviously both of those would have had to go in the onion bag for Reading to register the win.
So, where is the point of failure when it comes to shooting? As this graphic indicates, many of our shots (in red) are off target and by some distance. Charlton, to their credit, blocked almost as many attempts. Only the blue effort by Oliver Norwood raised the fans out of their seat, apart from leaving for a half-time cuppa, and trudging away from the Madejski empty handed.
If at first you don't succeed...try, try, ad infinitum
The other obvious point of failure originated from the flanks and largely from the left boot of Jordan Obita. By and large, the impressive Chris Solly thwarted most of the crosses that came his way. A few fair of which contributed to Reading's 12 corners. (In contrast, Charlton obtained a total of zero corners, which says a lot about their tactics and intent.)
Obita certainly was persistent, especially in the first half, but could not make his way past his diminutive rival to put in a telling cross. By the second half, Obita had patently given up on this tactic and Chris Gunter was often present in support, but uncomfortably so. As a result, it was no surprise that this option proved fruitless also.
Nigel Adkins appeared to laud the fact in his radio interview that we had 35 crosses in the game, in actual fact it was 46. However, the rather damning statistic would be the amount of successful crosses, which numbered a mind bogglingly poor FOUR.
One of which could barely be described as a cross at all (from Mackie) and only one could realistically being in the danger zone.
As Jonny, aptly described in his match report, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. This certainly proved to be totally accurate on the day. Until the management can evolve this team into providing a more varied and imaginative threat, we will continue to be easy to set up against, as Charlton easily proved.
Defensively, Reading continued to be disjointed and bereft of confidence. What we have gained in the re-appearance of Stephen Kelly at right-back, we now appear to have lost on the left side as the fledgling partnership of Gunter and Obita show little sign of gelling. Pearce and Hector seem to be an ill fit, with both (once again) berating each other for yet another defensive shambles.
If we look at the defence for the goal, the points of failure are multitudinous.
Firstly, by the time Solly is already at the point of delivery, Gunter isn't even close to him. His body shape indicates that a challenge to prevent the cross isn't forthcoming. Obita (just out of shot to the right of Solly) is back tracking, but equally as culpable of not tracking his runner.
Shifting focus to the further horribilis in the box, the two Charlton players betwixt the three Reading defenders. Neither Alex Pearce nor Michael Hector appear to be picking up Igor Vetokele and avoiding the 5' 8" striker from scoring with a free header that looped over Federici. Yes, that's right, 5'8". Free Header. Honestly!
What's Plan B?
To sum up, as if we weren't aware, we have problems all over the field. In defence there's a lack of organisation and trust. Left back and the usage of Obita is a huge bone of contention. In midfield, Oliver Norwood, whilst putting in another impressive performance (87.7% completion of his 81 passes), the rest of the midfield is on a different page. Williams is not fit enough for 90 minutes of box to box action, as much as he wishes to.
Jamie Mackie and Obita, whilst always willing, are not varied enough in their approach play. The interplay between midfield and the frontline is just missing beyond simple laying off of the ball to a colleague. There's little running off the ball and/or into space, and the art of rounding the back of the defence to assist Simon Cox and Glenn Murray simply is non-existent.
We need a Plan B (and C) as well as a Plan A, whilst statistically providing large numbers in terms of crosses and passing success, it's ultimately ineffective when pitted against well organised and efficient opponents, such as a comfortable mid-table side as Charlton so easily proved.
Graphics and stats courtesy of Squawka and YouTube.